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  • After her great-grandson tuned up the '85 Plymouth that had been up on cinder blocks since Gerald died in '02, Martha decided to supplement her social security check by driving for Uber. Phil, Martha's oldest son's daughter's kid, told her she needed a 4-door (check), drivers license (check), car insurance (could be arranged) and a car manufactured after '03 (the problem at hand).

    "You can't do it, gan-ma," he told her. "You shouldn't, of course, like I been sayin'. You shouldn't drive at all. 85." This number said with a sigh the size of the San Fernando Valley.

    "Eye-sight's good and the DMV hasn't stopped me," she said, putting her Salem down on her dinner plate and reaching for her purse.

    Phil lightly pushed Martha's arm back from her hand bag and lit his Marlboro with the glowing tip of her smoke before stubbing it out in the leftover mashed potatoes.

    "I don't need to see the license again gan-ma," he said, leaning back in his chair. "Not that you've ever done anything like you should do." He paused, as he was inclined to do. "Like quit smoking," he said, shaking his head at her as if she were a school girl.

    That's why she needed to make her own money. Get out of her grand-daughter's house, find a downtown flop house, anything but this constant hammering of her will. Phil! A full 65 years younger than she was, acting as if he were her guardian.

    Well, she didn't need his damn Accent, little foreign car, with its left eye hanging out after one of Phil's many accidents. She had all his information. She'd register his car and use hers. She'd been moving around the law all her life, right on the sidelines of it and propriety too.

    "And that was how the legend of the Plymouth Uber Centenarian began," said Phil as he was tucking his five year old son into bed one night. "Gan-ma drove that Plymouth around Los Angeles until she was one hundred years old. Died at the wheel on her hundred and first birthday. That's why the Uber logo's a Plymouth," Phil said, switching on the night light. "That's your heritage son," he whispered before leaving his small downtown apartment for his nightly drive through the rubble of L.A.'s streets.

    384 words, 30 minutes
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